Hopefully by now you’ve read the first two chapters in my online serial novel, 70 Willow Street. As part of this ongoing project in writing a novel online, I’m going to have a Q&A session with myself after about every two or three chapters.
I will talk about the writing process, various ideas on where I came up with characters or plot lines, what inspired me, etc. I am also happy to answer any of your questions if you have them. Just post them on a Q&A session or post them on the chapter that you have a question about.
Don’t worry! I’m not going to give anything away concerning upcoming chapters. Maybe some teasers, but definitely no spoilers. So here we go…
1. Where did I come up with the idea for this story?
I’ve always enjoyed reading stories and watching television shows about the paranormal and ghosts. Yes, I firmly believe that ghosts exist. After reading quite a bit of Dean Koontz over the past five months, I was easily inspired to want to write a paranormal story of my own.
In early November, I was having lunch in a Bob Evans restaurant and there was an odd family of sorts seated next to us which caught my attention and stayed in my mind long after. It was a married couple with three children. I don’t want to give any specific details here about them, but I will tell you they were my main inspiration for this story and in it, they are represented as the Faulk family.
2. Where did the title come from?
After the Bob Evans experience, I read a story the following week about Truman Capote’s former home in Brooklyn being up for sale and the price had been lowered. The address of that home is 70 Willow Street. For some reason, that story stuck in my head and converged on my Bob Evans family that had been hanging out in my mind. It became their home address and became the title of the book although I have them set in Alabama.
I’d like to point out there are other Capote references throughout the story and more to come. Some are obvious, and some not so obvious. Call it my homage to one of my favorite authors!
Also, Koontz actually has a book due out in late December called 77 Shadow Street. The similarities in titles was purely coincidental.
3. Who is the narrator?
Great question! And unfortunately one I don’t have an answer to. I had planned to tell the story from Cotter’s point of view, and then thought about third person POV but once I got started, this current narrator came to life on their own so I just went with it. I had planned to have the narrator be completely asexual, meaning you wouldn’t know if it was male or female. You also wouldn’t know their name. Unfortunately, in Chapter 2 Nanny referred to them as “Yes’m.” (Thanks to reader Kathy L. for catching that.) I decided to leave it. So now the narrator is a woman! But she still doesn’t have a name.
4. How many chapters will there be?
I don’t really know. Right now, I’m planning on 52 chapters – one a week for a year. But if the novel comes to an end before then, so be it.
5. When will new chapters be posted?
There will be a new chapter every Monday – once a week. I’m trying to write ahead but I’m sure there will eventually be some writer’s block happening or something else in life taking up too much of my time. If that happens, I’ll alert you not to expect a chapter that week but will make up for it the following week.
6. How much of this have you already written?
As of typing the answer to this question, I have completed chapter 3 and I’m halfway through chapter 4.
7. Do you plan to publish this at some time?
As of right now, the answer to this question is no. I’m giving the novel away free as a serial right here on my blog. If a nice agent or publisher came along and showed interest and made an offer, then I may change my mind and take down the chapters to seek publication.
8. Why are the chapters so short?
I thought short chapters would read better online, especially when they end in cliff hangers that make you want to keep reading. So, I shoot for 2,000 words minimum, maybe a tad bit more, and then wrap it up for the week.
That’s it for now! And remember, if you have a question, feel free to ask. Chapter 3 goes live on Monday, November 28th! Enjoy!